'Andy Roberts is not Naseem Shah’s father'

Sulaiman Qadir has rubbished claims about the young pacer forging his age

'Andy Roberts is not Naseem Shah’s father' PHOTO: AFP

16-year-old Naseem Shah’s childhood coach Sulaiman Qadir, son of late former Pakistan cricketer Abdul Qadir, has rubbished claims about the young pacer forging his age.

Three years ago in an interview, former West Indies bowling legend Andy Roberts had referred to Naseem as being a 16-year-old pacer.

While talking to Asian Age, Sulaiman said that Roberts’ comment on Naseem’s age can’t be taken as the final word.

“Andy Roberts is not Naseem Shah’s father. I can guarantee you that he is 16 years of age. He came to our academy some 4 years ago and was twelve then,” said Sulaiman. “He has undergone Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) conducted bones tests and a panel of doctors had also confirmed his age. Yes, in the past I do agree that in the absence of birth-certificates the age of certain cricketers was questioned. But in the case of Naseem Shah, he already has a birth certificate and a smart card.”

“In our country, Smart Card becomes a National Identity Card when a person crosses 18 and Naseem is still holding the Smart Card.” he added.

The PCB was recently left fuming after stories doubting the accuracy of Pakistan’s 16-year-old pacer Naseem Shah’s age started making the rounds.

"You only need to look at his face," PCB’s Chief Executive Wasim Khan told The Tonk according to Nine Network Australia. "He's hardly got any growth on his face. In terms of that, people question it no doubt, just because of his age and the fact that he's a mature lad and the fact that he's playing international cricket at this age.”

"But the bottom line is he's 16 years old and he's playing. We don't really care what India think," he added.

Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif, last week before Naseem’s Test debut against Australia in Brisbane, had taken a dig at the young pacer’s age.

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Kaif quoted a year old tweet by a sports journalist, in which Naseem was mentioned as a 17-year-old pace bowler.

The former cricketer replied to the tweet with a jibe at the credibility of the young pacer’s age, since a year later Naseem’s official age is 16 instead of being 18.